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UK Pirate Party warns about the Trans Pacific Partnership

Format shifting prohibition is bad news for the blind
Thu Aug 09 2012, 12:34
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THE UK PIRATE PARTY has warned that as the secretive Trans Pacific Partnership trade treaty looms closer into view, so does the scale of the damage that it could do.

The Trans Pacific Partnership is another secretive trade agreement that like ACTA and SOPA looks to wrest common sense away from copyright protection and pass its policing to corporations.

The US government, which roundly backs the Asia Pacific TPP trade treaty, will be holding the next round of talks in September. There corporate stakeholders will get a chance to sit down and discuss their wants with policy makers.

"TPP is an attempt to impose a copyright [enforcement] maximalist agenda on its signatories, currently countries like the US, Canada and Australia, but as is the way with these negotiations, it will be seen as a model for future worldwide implementation," warned Andrew Robinson, Pirate Party UK culture and media spokesperson.

Robinson said that the details that have leaked out so far about the TPP are concerning, adding that its talk of format shifting "protection" could make it hard for blind people in particular to use or create audiobooks.

"Documents leaked this week have caused consternation over the treaty's treatment of copyright exemptions... 'fair use' [and] 'format-shifting', which covers the right to transform a work published in one format to another," he said.

"Format-shifting can be important to anyone who buys music on CD but wants to listen to it on their iPod, but for people who are visually impaired, it will have a serious impact on quality of life. People are calling it 'a book famine for the blind',"

Rather than allow format shifting to improve lives, the TPP will act to harm them, he explained, and will see the copyright cartels aim another blow at the public interest. Robinson called for commitments from all countries not to pursue this route. µ


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